Max Verstappen was clearly cheesed off after realising his teammate Daniel Ricciardo had stolen pole position after qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, denying the 21-year-old Dutchman the accolade of becoming the youngest pole winner in history by a mere 0.026 of a second.
In the aftermath of the narrow miss, Verstappen was fuming when he told reporters that “the whole qualifying was crap” blaming several factors for his demise when it mattered, while his teammate was revelling in the successful ambush he produced with his stunning last Q3 effort.
Ricciardo did not experience the problems his younger teammate endured in the sister car despite playing second fiddle all weekend until that scintillating final lap. As a result, it will be an all Red Bull front row for the first time since 2013.
The team and most of the paddock were shocked by the turnaround because the script had the chap in the #33 Red Bull doing the business not the bloke in the #3 car.
Afterwards, team consigliere Helmut Marko told AutoMotor und Sport, “Without any problems, Max would have been two or three tenths faster. It was uncomfortable for him but not insurmountable. Ricciardo had similar problems but coped better.”
Team chief Christian Horner echoed his Austrian colleague’s sentiments, “It’s the same car so the same opportunity. Daniel did a better job in Q3, and he deserves it. We just need to do a good solid job now. We’ve got a great car, we’ve got great drivers and we just need to put it together tomorrow now.”
Indeed the big-smiling Aussie was pumped by his third career pole and his first outside of Monaco and described his session, “Putting the lap together right at the very end, when Max had dominated in practice and then Mercedes came on so strong made it even more exciting.”
“I don’t think anyone expected me to do it but I knew there was some extra speed in me and I’m happy to have found it. I knew I could clean up my first lap in Q3 and the first sector on my second lap was still average, but in the second sector I was building and I was pretty pumped up by the third.”
“It feels awesome to be back at the front and it feels right. It’s been a challenging year and I’ve been wanting to finish on a high with Red Bull, so hopefully, my run of poor fortune has come to an end and we can deliver what we all want,” added Ricciardo.